Devil’s Advocate: Best Time For Bell To Report

You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.

In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.

When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.

Topic: When would it be best for all parties involved for Le’Veon Bell to sign his franchise tender and report?

Aside from the two pending contract negotiations that are still on the table for Stephon Tuitt and Alejandro Villanueva, I think that the biggest, or at least the most discussed question that they are currently dealing with is when Le’Veon Bell will report to the team after failing to reach a deal on a new contract.

I don’t know when he will report, and I don’t know when it would make the most or best sense for the greatest collective good for him to report, but I think that there are cases to be made for a variety of scenarios.

Sign quickly, report to training camp immediately.

Doing so shows good faith toward the Steelers, who negotiated with Bell in good faith down to the final second. It will prevent the contract issue from being a bigger distraction than it has to be and it will in general be a morale boost, in addition to being there for James Conner.

Sit out a few weeks and report late to training camp.

Waiting a bit to make a move strikes a balance between injury risk, even if not that significant, and being a respectful teammate and employee. He can still show his dissatisfaction by sitting out shortly and still get his reps in late.

Wait until Steelers break camp and return to Pittsburgh.

A lot of people quite frankly don’t like training camp, particularly the few teams who still travel for training camp. Bell can avoid this entirely if he wants to and really wouldn’t need much work to get in shape or in sync.

Hold out until the start of, or into, the season.

If he really wants to make a point, Bell can withhold his services for a short period of time, but doing so risks hurting his reputation in future negotiations. Still, he will be able to avoid the offseason entirely.

Which side do you lean closer toward?

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